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[3] For you are the worst people for taking away the offices that fall to your class, and for enacting laws about them if someone serves twice as commissioner of police1 or something of the sort, but you allow the same men to be generals all the time.2 There is perhaps some excuse for allowing those engaged in the active services to continue, but to allow the others, who, though doing nothing, have an endless tenure of office and are themselves endlessly benefited is folly.3 Instead, you ought to bring in some of your own number, and there are not a few of you. For if you set up a standard, as it were, anyone who is worth anything will thereafter come forward of his own accord.

1 These ἀστυνόμοι were ten in number, five each for Athens and the Peiraeus; they were responsible for the streets but not for the markets. Cf. Aristot. Ath. Pol. 50.2.

2 The last statement is confirmed by Aristot. Ath. Pol. 62.3.

3 There is a touch of tragedy and the mysteries in the diction. Perhaps better: “hold an unserviceable post to the service of which they have themselves been consecrated.” For similar irony cf. Dem. 13.19 τελεσθῆναι στρατηγός, “to be consecrated general.”

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hide References (4 total)
  • Cross-references in notes to this page (1):
  • Cross-references in notes from this page (3):
    • Aristotle, Constitution of the Athenians, 50.2
    • Aristotle, Constitution of the Athenians, 62.3
    • Demosthenes, On Organization, 19
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